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Climate change and malaria

13 Jul 2010

Posted by: Paul Chinnock - Editorial Team

Comments (2)

A helpful discussion on how climate change might impact on the prevalence of malaria has been published in the US online newspaper The Faster Times. Written by a scientist - Anome Akpogheneta PhD, whose own doctoral research focused upon malaria immuno-epidemiology - the article makes it clear that there are different views as to whether global warming will have a significant impact on the number of malaria cases. Different modelling studies have produced conflicting results.

Dr Akpogheneta quotes Professor Steve Lindsay of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine who says that while models can help provide a “broad brush understanding” they should not be taken too seriously. Professor Paul Reiter at the Institut Pasteur has also said that many models “sidestep factors that are key to the transmission and epidemiology of the disease: the ecology and behaviour of both humans and vectors, and the immunity of the human population”.

The author concludes that, “Over-emphasis on global warming in relation to malaria misses the mark on the immediate need to address persistent socio-economic and political factors which drive malaria transmission”.

It is unusual to see such balanced and well-informed discussion in the “popular” media. More scientists should write like this.

Comments

  1. Musa Mustapha Dogara Says:

    In as much as i agreed with submission of Dr, Akpogheneta on the need to adress the immidiate mobidity and motality caused by malaria there is need to focus on the relationship between climate change and malaria. This is because some of us residing in sub-saharan Africa, specifically in Kano State, Nigeria have been witnessing erratic rainfall regime, severe hot season and of course severe cold season(Harmattan)for over a period of three years now. This period has also witnessed higher incidence of malaria.What could have been largely responsible for this, if not climate change?

  2. Brian E. Foster Says:

    Regardless of the cause the one point that most people miss when talking about climate is that we have to be prepared for change. It is pure human fantasy to assume that the Earth today is some sort of steady state system that is supposed to remain exactly as it is. Ocean levels will change and coastlines along with it. Rain belts will shift (North Africa used to be the bread basket of the Roman Empire before the Sahara ate it) and glaciers will flow and retreat. Nearly all the ideas in the climate debate are built on the false supposition that the climate that supports the current geopolitical state is the norm. Let’s quit trying to find someone to blame and figure out how to deal with change that will come regardless of whose fault it is.

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